Sunday, November 3, 2013

Group collaboration--Part I

My quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, had the big reveal of our 2013 Guild Challenge in October. It was a glorious exhibition! I blogged about the details of the Brown Bag Challenge here and showed what was included in my Monet-inspired Brown Bag.

Now that the Challenge is "out of the bag" so to speak, I'd like to share some observations and the take-aways from this Challenge because it was different from others in which I have participated.
My Brown Bag fabrics and Journal.
For this Challenge, participants worked on each other's projects, rather than everyone working on their own. It was a group project in which there was collaboration by the participants, but only through written and non-verbal communication. An interesting aspect of working this way is following others in their work path.

This is the first bag to which I contributed. It was pristine, had a specific game plan—a string quilt—and I was the first contributor. The string pieces (scraps) and foundation squares were pre-cut and ready to go. The sewing was totally enjoyable! I think I cranked out 15 to 20 six-inch blocks in an evening.
String pieced blocks.
Final string pieced quilt top.
The second bag had a more open theme with instructions to "add, subtract, multiply or divide." It had a few blocks already completed and a pattern idea. I added a second block design (an abstract "multiply" sign) that incorporated the solid yardage and an inset strip technique. I also pieced a batch of 4-patch blocks using the 5" charm pack prints.
Contents from the second Brown Bag.
More medium-sized blocks and 4-patches were added by subsequent contributors. I'm curious to see what Janet will do with the large "X" blocks. She might slice-and-insert something. I can envision a wide strip from a floral print—for a little texture contrast. What do you think?
Final blocks.
This third bag was probably the most promising to see come together and one of the more successful, in my mind, considering with what it started. Betty, the bag's owner, was gifted with a stack of vintage circa 1950s blocks (with 1/2" to 5/8" difference in size among them).
Contents from the third Brown Bag.
I was the third contributor, so I could see a direction that was developing from the previous collaborators. Here is the start of this patchwork project.
Pieces contributed by the first two participants.
I purchased some background fabrics—to add color, variety, and more mid-tones— and began the auditioning process. The vintage blocks were set on point with setting triangles. I floated these Shoe Fly blocks to compensate for their different sizes. 

My favorite take-away idea gleaned from this bag—to cut up the blocks into smaller bits—was inspired from the pieces previously contributed. I absolutely love this idea—especially after seeing the final outcome.
Auditioning on the design wall.
Look at where the chopped block bits ended up: the inside border, pieced into the outside border, and even in the corner blocks. This quilt top is so modern that it's difficult to imagine it started in the 1950s. A most successful time-span quilt top!
Final time-span quilt top. 
I will post the remaining bags in my next post. Until then, you can view all the results of the Choo Choo Quilters Brown Bag Challenge here.
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